Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vegan Dad on the Road: The Belgian Cafe

They say that the internet is isolating us under the guise of bringing us together; that we have traded face-to-face friendships for cyber relationships. Today I proved that theory wrong. I went out to dinner with two of my blog readers, Claire and Justin, who live in Philadelphia. They suggested we hit The Belgian Cafe for vegan wings and beer. Good call. We enjoyed a bunch of laughs, cheap $3 pints, and some mighty good food. We started with the stuffed tofu (pictured above), which isn't so much stuffed as sliced with stuff in the middle. The tofu was stuffed with Spaten Optimator (what is that? It sounds like a Transformer), cherries, cashews, cilantro and garlic, and was served with garlicky sesame spinach. We also got the pomme frites (read: French fries) served with a smoky ketchup and vegan aioli.
And, as promised, the vegan wings (not bad, but I actually prefer mine).
Justin ordered the vegan burger, which seemed to be lentil-based but no overly mushy.
Claire got the gazpacho and salad.
I settled on the vegan Reuben because it has always struck me as a weird sandwich. Although I think they doused the bread in oil before toasting it, it was very tasty indeed. I will have to look up Isa'a recipe when I get home. It came with a salad of greens and beans. Nothing special but a nice balsamic dressing.

All in all, a great time was had by all! Thanks, Claire and Justin!


Nikki Douglas said...

Food looks terrific and I think it is great you met two of your readers! Proves we are all connected ultimately. Like the bean salad - I have been thinking about making some.

Binx said...

Hrm. Are Justin and Claire involved in a jazz program at one of the local art schools? My old voice teacher is named Justin, and his wife is named Claire, and she is vegan (maybe him too). It would be funny if that was them. If not, please disregard this.

Haven't tried the Belgian Cafe-- those guys have a couple of bars in the city and some have better food than others. That's the newest and I've heard they have the most vegan options.

Vegan Dad said...

That's them all right. Yes, it's all a rich tapestry of music and veganism.

Claire said...

hey, binx! We should have called you! we're planning to see you sing next tues, so maybe we can hit some vegan eats after. and yes, i am back to vegan. i have much less of a problem telling people kindly that i don't eat cruel food. and justin's a veggie now too, not all the way, but it's still a big deal and i'm proud of him.

thanks again, v dad! it was really fun. i will send you a list of places to see and shop before you leave town. also, i ate too much food. as my pal em says "it's like folding a grapefruit"

BitterSweet said...

What an awesome find- Both the restaurant and such great company. :) The photos here are beautiful, too.

Jamie the Foodie said...

i am always so jealous to hear about vegan restaurants. we have no such a thing where i live. lucky for you all!

Vegan Dad said...

I am getting spoiled here in Philly. I never go out to eat at home.

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Spaten Optimator is a really good German beer.

Yeah, back on topic though, everything looks so wonderfully tasty, I love the chance to go out and have vegan choices!!!!

Life Love and Peanut Butter said...

Spaten Optimator?! Why it's only one of the best German beers brewed ever, especially considering its 7.2% alcohol level. Woohoo! Try one if you get the chance

Erin said...

Vegan bar food! Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I really love this blog, I've been vegan for 16 years and your blog has really inspired me to cook more!

I went to Philly with my husband for a business trip earlier this year (we live in nyc) anyway, didn't know much about the vegan food there so I searched before hand and found this place called Gianna's, it's a philly cheese steak place that also has a vegan menu, so you can get a vegan philly cheese steak! It was fun to go to a divey place that has a vegan menu! I recommend their desserts too. Not super healthy but great. Anyway just felt like sharing.


Ruth Rivera said...

Just made your vegan Rueben last night. OMG, it was delicious and a perfect high-profile meal for after our leg workout! Thanks for an awesome recipe.